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Quarantine legal challenge could go to Privy Council

Legal challenge: lawyer Charles Richardson (File photograph)

A campaign to mount a legal challenge to tougher quarantine regulations for unvaccinated arrivals has raised more than $25,000 in just four days.

Constitutional Freedom Bermuda, a pressure group, launched the fundraising effort last Friday after it hired a top London Queen’s Counsel to take the case to court.

The group said it aimed to raise $70,000 to cover the costs of the legal challenge to Government’s planned Covid-19 restrictions.

A total of $25,039 had been donated through the crowdjustice platform by yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for the group said: “We hold the view that the Government's existing and impending Covid-19 regulations have gone a step too far.

“Given the important public considerations at stake, the case, irrespective of its outcome, is likely to be appealed to the highest Court, the Privy Council in London.

“During a time when finances are scarce, the Government is essentially jailing those who do not choose to get the vaccine.”

The spokesman asked: “What is next? Will your schoolchildren be prohibited from attending school if they are not vaccinated?

“What happens to the mother who is pregnant and returning home? Will she, too, be locked in a facility and forced to pay for what is effectively jail?

“What happens to the school students are returning home for summer vacation who have decided not to get the vaccine? How are they to pay?”

The spokesman added: “In sum, we hold the view that the regulations, particularly the ones that discriminate against the vaccinated and unvaccinated, are unconstitutional.

“In a bid to stop the effect of the regulations, a legal challenge is being made to the Supreme Court to declare the regulations as unlawful.

“Any limitations imposed must be reasonably required and reasonably justified in a democratic society.

“Unfortunately, the restrictions and regulations imposed by the Government are wholly unreasonable and unconstitutional.

“If a law goes too far in restricting liberty, if the law is in place for too long, or reaches too far, or if the goal of the law can be achieved by less invasive measures, then the court has the authority to strike down the law.

“We must act, and we must act now.”

The group is represented by Courtenay Griffiths QC, who claimed that the proposed regulations – which includes mandatory quarantine in an approved centre for anyone who has not had the vaccine – are “oppressive”.

Charles Richardson, of Compass Law Chambers, who is also representing the group, is expected to file papers in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Mr Richardson will ask that the restrictions, scheduled to come into force on June 6, be suspended until their legality was argued in court.

Mr Griffiths said last Friday: “The Government's restrictions and regulations are oppressive and trample on Bermudians’ constitutional rights.

“Given the important public considerations at stake, it is imperative that this matter is finally determined by the courts.

Mr Griffiths warned that acceptance of the regulations could lead to more limitations on freedom in the future.

He told the public: “Our client is fervent in their desire to proceed with this constitutional action and I encourage the people of Bermuda and across the globe to get behind them and stand up for your rights.”

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Published May 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm (Updated May 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm)

Quarantine legal challenge could go to Privy Council

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